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Old May 11th, 2007, 05:00 PM
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Default Anyone been to Samana?

I can't seem to find much info on it. I would like any suggestions, thoughts on what to do at this port..Thanks
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Old May 11th, 2007, 06:17 PM
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I hate to be the barror of bad tidings, but I don't think I would bother to get off the ship. If you are going to do anything stick with a tour offered through the cruise line. Normally I recommend people do their own tours. The people really are not particularly friendly on the island, it isn't clean or particularly clean and there isn't much to do. DD and I just didn't like it. Now, times change and it was a year ago so hopefully the island will develop into a good port, just like Roatan. NMnita :evil:
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Old May 13th, 2007, 09:39 PM
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Where is Samana?
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Old May 15th, 2007, 05:54 PM
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I've read that several people have enjoyed the NCL excursion to Cayo Levantado. I think its $33/person. This is a beautiful beach to enjoy for the day.
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Old May 15th, 2007, 07:59 PM
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Jackie, Samana is in the Dominican Republic.

You may also want to check out Gran Bahia Resort (Occidental) to see if they offer a day pass or anything for cruisers. D/H and I went there for our honeymoon several years ago. Years prior to that, it was actually featured on "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous". It makes me sad to see people talk about how awful Samana is now. It was of course a very poor country and you could see some squalor, the same could be said of most popular cruise ports, but the people were wonderful, we never felt unsafe, and when you walked down the street, the doors to people's homes were open and we saw shiny clean ceramic tile floors. We went into town one day as the school children were being dismissed for the day. The girls were so pretty with their starched white blouses and navy blue skirts. Either it has changed a lot since then, or they didn't see what we saw, or go where we went. Cayo Levantado was beautiful back then too and the Gran Bahia is right across the water from the island. There used to be a shuttle boat that would take you back and forth between the island and the resort. I hope you get to see the side of Samana we got to see. I hope it still exists. Back then the only way to get there was to fly into Puerta Plata and take a 3 or 4 hour jeep ride through the Mountains to the other side of the islands. Now that was an adventure. Now there seems to be a lot more access to it, I wonder if thats what has happened there?
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Old May 15th, 2007, 08:08 PM
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I did a little checking and found that the Gran Bahia was recently purchased by another resort company and checked them out on Tripadvisor.It looks nice now than it did back then. Since we have a 10 year anniversary coming up, I may have to consider going back. Check out these pictures:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationP...c.html#1926659

The resort is now known as:
Gran Bahia Principe Samana

Hope that helps give you a balanced view of what is in Samana.
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Old May 16th, 2007, 09:41 PM
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Thank you everyone for the continued responses!
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Old May 17th, 2007, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beenie weenie
Jackie, Samana is in the Dominican Republic.

You may also want to check out Gran Bahia Resort (Occidental) to see if they offer a day pass or anything for cruisers. D/H and I went there for our honeymoon several years ago. Years prior to that, it was actually featured on "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous". It makes me sad to see people talk about how awful Samana is now. It was of course a very poor country and you could see some squalor, the same could be said of most popular cruise ports, but the people were wonderful, we never felt unsafe, and when you walked down the street, the doors to people's homes were open and we saw shiny clean ceramic tile floors. We went into town one day as the school children were being dismissed for the day. The girls were so pretty with their starched white blouses and navy blue skirts. Either it has changed a lot since then, or they didn't see what we saw, or go where we went. Cayo Levantado was beautiful back then too and the Gran Bahia is right across the water from the island. There used to be a shuttle boat that would take you back and forth between the island and the resort. I hope you get to see the side of Samana we got to see. I hope it still exists. Back then the only way to get there was to fly into Puerta Plata and take a 3 or 4 hour jeep ride through the Mountains to the other side of the islands. Now that was an adventure. Now there seems to be a lot more access to it, I wonder if thats what has happened there?
Everyone has his/her own opinion and yes, you are right, with the exception of about 6 or 7 ports (I think we have been to every port in the Caribbean or 95%) poverty exists. Our experience and that of some of the others on the Sun last spring was a little different from yours. I don't know if we felt upsafe, but as for the people being friendly? Absolutely the opposite for us. Roatan is a very poor island, probably just as poor or more so than Dominican Republic but the people are so friendly and the island so filled with natural beauty I could stop there on every cruise.

I hope you always have so much enthusiam for Samana. that is the way I feel about a few other islands.
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Old May 18th, 2007, 12:18 AM
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Nita it is quite obvious that we saw two entirely different parts of Samana. Just like any port, especially a newer and, or under-developed port, like Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala, Costa Maya, Calica etc... sometimes you have to really dig to find some thing worthwhile, really doing your homework and planning well in advance, taking a ship's tour is not always a guarantee either of ensuring you see the "good" side of the city.

I have never been in the Port area of Samana, and from what I am reading here it needs to be improved upon. First impressions are everything, because cruisers have to pack it all in that one day they visit a port. We had the luxury of spending a week at a beautiful resort and had a great time. We went scuba diving on a nearby reef and it was breathtaking. We had a great lobster dinner for two that was cooked on a camp fire for us by a local family after our dive and we had two large lobsters, and beer for about $10. I encourage anyone going here to look deeper than what they see when they walk off the ship and really do some planning. Perhaps see if it's possible to get a day pass at the resort, or email the resort and ask who the Dive Master is they work with, and get recommendations on tours from them.
My least favorite port we have been to was Antigua. I absolutley hated it. I also realized that this is a port I had nothing really planned and dealt with a very unpleasant man in one of the port shops and due to my first impression of the place I'd be unlikely to choose a cruise that had it as part of it's itinerary, but in all fairness, everyone I spoke to who had planned a tour or excursion really enjoyed it, so basically I think if I had made a different choice and planned something that d/h and I were really into I would probably have had a much different impression of that port.
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Old May 18th, 2007, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beenie weenie
Nita it is quite obvious that we saw two entirely different parts of Samana. Just like any port, especially a newer and, or under-developed port, like Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala, Costa Maya, Calica etc... sometimes you have to really dig to find some thing worthwhile, really doing your homework and planning well in advance, taking a ship's tour is not always a guarantee either of ensuring you see the "good" side of the city.

I have never been in the Port area of Samana, and from what I am reading here it needs to be improved upon. First impressions are everything, because cruisers have to pack it all in that one day they visit a port. We had the luxury of spending a week at a beautiful resort and had a great time. We went scuba diving on a nearby reef and it was breathtaking. We had a great lobster dinner for two that was cooked on a camp fire for us by a local family after our dive and we had two large lobsters, and beer for about $10. I encourage anyone going here to look deeper than what they see when they walk off the ship and really do some planning. Perhaps see if it's possible to get a day pass at the resort, or email the resort and ask who the Dive Master is they work with, and get recommendations on tours from them.
My least favorite port we have been to was Antigua. I absolutley hated it. I also realized that this is a port I had nothing really planned and dealt with a very unpleasant man in one of the port shops and due to my first impression of the place I'd be unlikely to choose a cruise that had it as part of it's itinerary, but in all fairness, everyone I spoke to who had planned a tour or excursion really enjoyed it, so basically I think if I had made a different choice and planned something that d/h and I were really into I would probably have had a much different impression of that port.
Funny you would say that about Antigua, I agree with you. We had nothing planned but thought we would take a taxi to one of the resorts. Well, the weather was pretty awful that day thus we just walked into town which was right at the pier. We didn't like the people in the shops and our granddaughter, then just turning 21 felt very uncomfotable. Yes, first impressions are lasting ones for good or bad.
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Old May 20th, 2007, 11:47 AM
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For me Antigua has some of the most beautiful beaches and I know each and every one of them. I have been there on at least 25- 2 week land trips. First impressions do say alot. I have been to places I know are beautiful but when you are some where you dont know and then some one is rude, it sets the tone. I always feel like I am coming home when I go to Antigua, family member owns a villa on the sea, and it has many happy memories for me and my family.
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Old May 21st, 2007, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
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For me Antigua has some of the most beautiful beaches and I know each and every one of them. I have been there on at least 25- 2 week land trips. First impressions do say alot. I have been to places I know are beautiful but when you are some where you dont know and then some one is rude, it sets the tone. I always feel like I am coming home when I go to Antigua, family member owns a villa on the sea, and it has many happy memories for me and my family.
You know I find it amazing how different we are and yet most of us have similar likes, dislikes and expectations. One of our least favorite ports becasuse of a very personal situation with a few natives was St Lucia. Others love the island. Two of our favorites are Barbedos and Dominica, some don't like either. Isn't it wonderful there are so many choices?
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 08:46 PM
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St Lucia is my least favorite. It is beautiful, but there were naked begging very small children everywhere we went on our tour. Many islands have children looking for money. In Roatan, we had a little boy help us with our shopping and we tip him well. But to very small children begging made me ill.
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackiesbooks
St Lucia is my least favorite. It is beautiful, but there were naked begging very small children everywhere we went on our tour. Many islands have children looking for money. In Roatan, we had a little boy help us with our shopping and we tip him well. But to very small children begging made me ill.
Begging and pushy merchants were the problems we had with St Lucia as well. Your Roatan experience is totally different. I am sure he was quite happy with whatever you gave him. NMNita
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Old June 5th, 2007, 07:51 PM
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Hey,

I went to Samana in March along with St Thomas and Tortola. St Thomas and Tortola were amazing but Samana was the worst part of the trip. If you book shore excursions through NCL you will be fine, but dont go ashore and look for a taxi to drive you. They are a rip off. They wanted $200 for the cab ride plus $50 for every waiting hour, and all the people were very sketch. As soon as you hit land the locals are all over you trying to sell you crap and get you to take their taxi. Very overwhelming and kind of scary and I'm from NYC! We actually got right back on the next tender to the ship and went to the pool! You should look into the cruises that skip Samana and add Bermuda. I have been to Bermuda as well and would have loved to gone their instead of Samana. Hope this helps.

Ed
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Old June 7th, 2007, 12:07 PM
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STAY AWAY FROM SAMANA !!!!!!!!!!
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Old June 9th, 2007, 02:46 AM
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We went to Samana in April 07. Which we thought was better then St.Thomas we went on a self drive 4x4 excursion which turned out to be far more touching than we would have thought the local people were so nice and helpful that my Daughters want to go back to see the kids we met. We went to a working plantation where we sampled some of the local foods and drink which I myself was amazed at how they live and how they survive off of what is grown in the woods and how they cook on open flamed pits. It really made me and my family appreciate what we take for granted everyday a lot more. On the same excursion we went on a 20 minute walk to a natural waterfall which was beautiful and we swam for about half an hour.There were children that helped my wife and girls walk the trail and over some small rocks.At the end we gave them a couple of dollars each.They even carried our bags.To do this excursion you must be able to drive a stick shift jeep. I don't remember what the cost was but it was well worth it. If your also going to Tortola i highly recommend doing the Dolphin swim There. You can also read my review of our first cruise on this board.
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Old June 9th, 2007, 11:14 AM
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Joe, it sounds like you saw the best part of Samana: I am glad they have some interesting things to offer. Maybe in the year since we have been there things have improved, it sure sounds like it. thanks for giving a different view. NMnita
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Old June 9th, 2007, 11:37 AM
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When we were there 10 years ago I heard that the waterfall was really neat. We were invited to go and went scuba diving instead which was amazing. But now I kind of wish we had found the time to do both. Oh well maybe next time.
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